It was a long, at times difficult journey, but here we are at the end of Book 2: Spirits.
It’s hard to believe, but we wrote the scripts for Book 2 roughly between May, 2011 and May, 2012. We didn’t mix the last episode of Book 2 until Nov. 11, the monday before the show went up on Nick.com. We don’t usually cut it that close, but it was really down to the wire on this round of episodes.
It’s a relief to finally have Book 2 complete and out in the world. (And if you haven’t seen it all, there will be spoilers below…)
What I’m most proud about in Book 2 is how much we were able to explore the Spirit World and spirituality in general. I want to tell stories that are entertaining, but also enlightening in some way.
Everyone gleans different lessons and nuggets of wisdom from the show, so I don’t mean this as the end-all for what Book 2 is about. But looking back on this past season, there’s one big take-away for me:
Even though we identify as human beings, we have the potential to tap into something beyond our human forms.
Both Korra’s story and Wan’s story are about humans moving beyond their ordinary abilities, and becoming something extraordinary. Wan used his cunning, bravery, and wisdom to move beyond his humanness, ultimately fusing with Raava to become the first Avatar. And Korra, when she loses her connection to the past Avatars and her Avatar spirit, looks deep within herself and forms a new connection with the cosmic version of herself. When Korra is at her lowest point, Tenzin tells her: “The most powerful thing about you is not the spirit of Raava, but your own inner spirit. You have always been strong, unyielding, and fearless” and that Wan became a legend “because of who he was, not what he was.”
In Hindu philosophy, there is a concept called Atman, which is defined as the “innermost essence of each individual” or “the supreme universal self.” This is my interpretation of what Korra sees and becomes when she meditates. The giant blue Cosmic Korra is a visual representation of her inner essence.
With this episode, I wanted to show how any one of us has the ability to tap into that cosmic, more-than-human version of ourselves and expand past the possibilities of what we think we’re capable of.
We can all be the Avatar in our own lives.
In Hindu mythology, Shiva takes many different forms. Sometimes he’s destructive, sometimes meditative, other times benevolent. I think of Korra like that. Most of her life she has been in warrior mode, but she is learning that, depending on the situation, she can take other forms. In our own lives, we put on different forms or act differently, depending on the situation. We act differently with our best friends, than with our parents, or in a business situation.
Through the story of Wan, we come to learn that the Avatar is part human, part spirit. This is how I have come to see all humanity — we’re all part human, part spirit. Like Korra, for a long time I wasn’t aware of my spiritual half, but over the years I’ve become more in tune with it and more accepting of that side of life.
Joseph Campbell has a couple great quotes related to this in “The Power of Myth”:
“…each of us is a completely unique creature and… if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else’s.”
“Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.”
This is why stories, when made with love and integrity, contain the possibility to affect personal and societal change. And it’s no coincidence that Book 3 is called “Change.” So get ready, change is coming…